Portuguese footballer is banned for more than four years after attack on referee

Canelas, a club from the suburbs of Porto, have been branded "thugs" and "butchers"

An amateur footballer in Portugal has been banned for more than four years after kneeing a referee in the face.

Marco Goncalves, 34, assaulted the referee after being sent off in last month's game against Rio Tinto, and was escorted off the pitch by police.

Images of the attack went viral, with the referee suffering a broken nose.

Goncalves plays for Canelas, a club made up of FC Porto ultras who have been branded "thugs" for their aggressive style of play.

Three members of their squad, including the captain, hail from the 'Super Dragons' ultras, a well-known fan group of Porto.

Other clubs in the fourth-tier amateur league would rather pay a 750-euro fine and forfeit the match than play Canelas.

As a result, they are top of the league after a string of default wins, but no official complaints have yet been filed against the club.

A spokesman for the Porto regional league told AFP Gonclaves has been banned for four years for the attack on the referee, three months for assaulting an opposition players and two months for "insults".

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